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by Deb Shaw

The wonderful botanical art exhibitions at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Brody Botanical Center are in their final month of display.

Out of the Woods: Celebrating Trees in Public Gardens, The Third New York Botanical Garden Triennial and American Society of Botanical Artists will be on display until August 27, 2018, along with BAGSC’s adjunct exhibition “Amazing Trees.”  BAGSC members will continue to have drop-in family botanical art activities and botanical art demonstrations every Saturday and Sunday through that time as well.

These exhibitions have been a whirlwind of wonderful opportunities. A few highlights have included:

, a volunteer author in the office of communications and marketing at The Huntington introduced the exhibition with an article in “Verso,” The Blog for The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Read the article here.

Deborah Friedman was interviewed and videotaped by Aric Allen, Video Producer, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens about her development of her painting of the California Sycamore, Platanus racemosa in “Out of the Woods.” See the insightful video interview on YouTube here.

Steve Hindle, Interim President of The Huntington, "President's Message: The Gentle Giants Among Us," July/August "Calendar."

Steve Hindle, Interim President of The Huntington, “President’s Message: The Gentle Giants Among Us,” July/August “Calendar.” Read a PDF of the Message: huntington-pres-ltr-OOTW

“Out of the Woods” has been featured in all kinds of publicity and outreach from The Huntington, including the “President’s Message: The Gentle Giants Among Us,” by Interim President Steve Hindle in the July/August issue of The Huntington’s “Calendar.”

BAGSC participated in a Huntington open house and reception for The Huntington Fellows on Tuesday evening, May 22, 2018. BAGSC members Catherine Dellor, Estelle DeRidder, Suz Landay, Patricia Mark, Veronica Raymond, Olga Ryabstova, Gilly Shaeffer, Deborah Shaw, and Jude Wiesenfeld demonstrated at the well-attended reception. BAGSC members Susan Bartow, Teri Kuwahara, Tania Norris, Mitsuko Schultz, Beth Stone, and Leslie Walker attended too. Concurrent with the botanical art demonstrations that evening in the Ahmanson at the Brody Botanical Center, the ASBA Worldwide exhibitions were on display on the large screen, including the US exhibition (currently on display at the US Botanic Gardens) and exhibitions from 24 other countries. (See information about the ASBA Worldwide exhibition here. Information about the participating countries in the botanical art Worldwide Exhibition can be found here. Be sure to see the gallery slideshows and instructions on ordering exhibition catalogs from the US and other countries.)

Click on any of the images below to see in slide show with captions.

The calm before the crowds: (L) BAGSC member Tania Norris and Robert Hori ready the tables for the drop-in family botanical art activities.

The calm before the crowds: (L) BAGSC member Tania Norris and Robert Hori ready the tables for the drop-in family botanical art activities.

BAGSC members have provided drop-in family botanical art activities every weekend throughout the summer, including leaf-rubbings; botanical art demonstrations;  a segment in cooperation with The Huntington’s education department for their “avocado day,” and lots more! Additionally, BAGSC members have been on hand to answer questions from the public about botanical art and artworks in the exhibitions. It has been wonderful (and inspiring) to find many visitors to the exhibitions who have not only returned to see them multiple times, but have brought others to see them as well.

BAGSC members also used the weekend demonstration opportunities to paint orchids generously supplied from The Huntington’s collection by Brandon Tam, orchid collection specialist at The Huntington. Look for these paintings and drawings in our next exhibition at The Huntington in the fall, entitled “Diversity of Orchids.”

In early June, BAGSC members had the good fortune to be able to have Carol Woodin, ASBA Exhibition Chair at our quarterly meeting. Carol was in Southern California presenting at the American Public Gardens Association Conference with Devin Dotson from the US Botanic Gardens. Carol spoke to BAGSC members about painting orchids, followed by an audience-requested tour through the “Out of the Woods” exhibition. Click on any of the images below to see an enlarged slide show of the images with captions.

On Sunday, July 29, 2018, The Huntington hosted a stellar reception for the exhibitions for around 70 BAGSC members, family, friends and guests. Click on any of the images below to see a slideshow and read the captions.

Esmee van Winkel’s painting of Leiden’s 300-Year-Old Tulip Tree in Autumn, Liriodendron tulipifera, Hortus Botanicus Leiden, Leiden, The Netherlands has graced all the signage, large and small, and the printed marketing materials produced by The Huntington. The signage is everywhere throughout the campus. Click on any of the images below for a small sampling, and to read the captions.

"Out of Woods" catalogs on display in The Huntington Store, along with a selection of notecards by BAGSC members in the "Out of the Woods" exhibition. Five of the six cards are shown here; The Huntington Store sometimes has them all together, other times they are grouped with like subject areas in the store.

“Out of Woods” catalogs on display in The Huntington Store, along with a selection of notecards by BAGSC members in the “Out of the Woods” exhibition. Five of the six cards are shown here; The Huntington Store sometimes has them all together, other times they are grouped with like subject areas in the store.

“Out of the Woods” exhibition catalogs are on sale in The Huntington Store for $12.00 US. The Store also is carrying a limited edition of notecards with artwork by BAGSC members in the “Out of the Woods” exhibition, including Margaret Best (Screw-Pine, Pandanus utilis, Bermuda Arboretum, Bermuda), Akiko Enokido (Swamp Cypress, Taxodium distichum, Kobe Municipal Arboretum, Kobe, Japan), Deborah Friedman (California Sycamore, Platanus racemosa, detail from original, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, California), Asuka Hishiki (Black Pine Half-cascade Style Bonsai, Pinus nigra, The Omiya Bonsai Art Museum, Saitama, Japan), Olga Ryabstova (Roxburgh Fig, Ficus auriculata, The San Diego Botanic Garden, Encinitas, California), and Mitsuko Schultz (Sweet Gum, Liquidambar styraciflua, ‘Burgundy’, Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, Arcadia, California).

Asuka Hishiki's notecard in The Huntington Store on display in the Bonsai area of the Store.

Asuka Hishiki’s notecard in The Huntington Store on display in the Bonsai area of the Store.

A heartfelt thank you is due to too many to list here, but a special thank you to The Huntington’s Jim Folsom, Robert Hori, Danielle Rudeen, Melanie Thorpe and Andrew Mitchell, along with The Huntington’s Exhibition, Communications, Video, Education, Store and Graphics departments. Another special thank you to the BAGSC artists in “Out of the Woods,” who generously supported our test into The Huntington Store, and to all the other members who worked to make these exhibitions a success. And, last but not least, a heartfelt thank you to Tania Norris for all her work on the exhibition and coordinating the weekend botanical art activities.

by Beth Stone, posted by Deb Shaw

BAGSC members might like these two upcoming events at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens:

Lecture – Cochineal in the History of Art and Global Trade
Sunday, 12/10/17 at 2:30 pm

Garden Talk & Sale – California “Super Bloom” 2017
Thursday, 12/14/17 at 2:30 pm

by Lesley Randall, posted by Deb Shaw

In preparation for the upcoming BAGSC Exhibition, Ficus at San Diego Botanic Garden, here is a bit of information about this extraordinary group of plants.

We’ll start with the one most of us know best: the edible fig. Ficus carica, has been in cultivation since ancient times. Though humans typically eat only this species of Fig, others are considered to be keystone species in their habitats, providing food (leaves as well as figs) and shelter for a wide variety of mammals, birds and insects. Several species are plants of special significance in many cultures. For example, Ficus religiosa, the Bo Tree, is said to be the tree under which Buddha sat while gaining enlightenment.

Some figs are cauliflorous, a botanical term for plants which have flowers and fruits growing directly from their main stems or woody trunks rather than from new growth. The word comes from Latin. Caulis means trunk or stem and Flory means flower. Photo by Lesley Randall, © 2017.

Some figs are cauliflorous, a botanical term for plants which have flowers and fruits growing directly from their main stems or woody trunks rather than from new growth. The word comes from Latin. Caulis means trunk or stem and Flory means flower. Photo by Lesley Randall, © 2017.

The genus Ficus is a member of the Moraceae, or Mulberry Family. There are more than 800 species of Ficus. Most are tropical, but there are some species that survive in more temperate zones, such as the edible fig. The genus is highly diverse, with species growing as epiphytes, massive banyans, stranglers, shrubs, caudiciforms, vines and small trees. They are found from rainforests to dry rocky deserts.

 

So what makes a Ficus a Ficus?

Ficus auriculatus cut to reveal the interior and white latex. Photo by Lesley Randall, © 2017.

Ficus auriculatus cut to reveal the interior and white latex. Photo by Lesley Randall, © 2017.

There are a couple of key characteristics that separate this group. First is the unusual flower/fruit arrangement—the fig itself. Known as a syconium in botanical lingo, the fig is an urn-shaped structure lined with tiny flowers on the inside. The flowers are pollinated by a specialized group of wasps that enter the syconium through an opening called an ostiole.

The second key characteristic are the paired stipules that enclose the developing leaf. Though these often drop off as the leaf begins to unfold, they leave a distinct scar at the base of the leaf. The stipules may be separate, or fused into one structure.

The third key characteristic is the sap: a striking white or yellow latex.

Other characteristics to note are: an alternate leaf arrangement, and typically, pinnate venation. All figs share these characteristics that, combined, distinguish them from other plant genera. How these characters are expressed are what makes the group so interesting. The syconium can be as large as a baseball or less than a centimeter wide. It may be scaled or smooth, sessile or stalked and borne in leaf axils or on the main branches and trunk (cauliflorous.) The leaves are typically entire, but several species have lobed leaves. Leaves may be thick and tough, light and delicate, very large or very small. The bark can be smooth, rough, or in the case of a couple Australian species, corky and fire retardant.

Ficus with stipules and scars. Photo by Lesley Randall, © 2017.

Ficus with stipules and scars. Photo by Lesley Randall, © 2017.

Where to find Ficus in Southern California?
The Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden, San Diego Zoo, and San Diego Botanic Garden all have nice collections. The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens have some as well. They also can be found in parks, lining city streets, in back yards, as house plants, in nurseries and as Bonsai specimens.

Want to learn more? Check out Fig Web which has information on specific species as well as general information on the group. BAGSC members who are interested in organizing and/or attending expeditions to find and paint specimens should let us know your interest and stay tuned!

Information about the Ficus exhibition at the San Diego Botanic Garden can be found on BAGSC’s website. Information about the “Call for Entries” can be found on the “Members Only” page of the BAGSC website.

Ficus religiosa, the Bo Tree, with reddish new growth. Photo by Lesley Randall, © 2017.

Ficus religiosa, the Bo Tree, with reddish new growth. Photo by Lesley Randall, © 2017.

by Veronica Raymond and Deb Shaw

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens has created an internal online resource for staff and volunteers for What’s In Bloom! [Click on the title to be connected to the link.]

Although this in-house resource is not generally available to the public, Jim Folsom, the Marge & Sherm Telleen/Earle & Marion Jorgensen Director of the Botanical Gardens, has shared the link to this fabulous site for use by botanical artists.

Thank you to Jim and his team for producing this valuable resource!

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